Elena Herminia Guzman is an Afro-Indigenous Boricua filmmaker and anthropologist from New York City. Her work broadly looks at issues of representation in the African/Black Diaspora with a focus on narrative, portrait, and documentary film. This includes projects that explore identity in the African Diaspora such as hair salons in the Bronx, homelessness in NYC for Latinx and Black communities, stigmas of mental health, and racism and citizenship in Latin America.
Emily Hong is a Seoul-born and New York-raised feminist anthropologist and filmmaker. A graduate of Columbia University and PhD Candidate at Cornell University, Emily’s research and professional expertise lies at the intersection of legal anthropology, media practice, and economic, social, and cultural rights. Emily has directed several collaborative films including Get By (2014), For My Art (2016), and Nobel Nok Dah (2015), which have explored issues of solidarity and labor, the gendered spectatorship of performance art, and questions of womanhood and identity in the refugee experience.
From the Lower East Side, NYC, Lai's diverse neighborhood and Puerto Rican-Chinese heritage shaped her global interests in alternative female and minority narratives. She prioritizes the physicality and performative role of the cinematographer in the dance between subject and storyteller. She has produced work internationally in China, Ghana, Romania & Myanmar. Her work has screened at Ethnofest, Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival, & Wathann Film Festival. She has received awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Points North Institute, Cornell Council for the Arts, City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and China Agricultural University Documentary Center. She also produces digital content for socially oriented organizations like YMCA & University of Chicago.
Mariangela Mihai, a Romanian Anthropology and Film PhD Candidate at Cornell University, has worked on issues of refugee political resettlement at the Emory Center for Ethics and the International Rescue Committee. Her current research looks at overlapping nationalisms, identity and ethnicity on the India-Burma border. Select film projects include: To Uphold the Law (2014), a film exploring ideologies of nationalism and anti-drone activism in Upstate N.Y.; and For My Art (2016), a two-channel video installation exploring the sensorial landscape of transition-era Burma/Myanmar through the figure of the performance artist.
Natalie is an Iranian-American filmmaker and anthropologist studying the relationship between documentary filmmaking and NGO campaigns in Tehran, Iran, with a focus on women’s work. She is invested in collaborative projects and experimental strategies that compel cultural producers to explore affect beyond the frame.
Laura Menchaca Ruiz
Laura Menchaca Ruiz is a Chicana filmmaker and anthropologist. Through both her scholarly and creative work, she seeks to reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary while exploring the complexity of human intimacy and social life. She has been involved in social justice activism in California, New York City, the Dominican Republic, Ithaca and beyond. She has served as a community educator for over 10 years and looks forward to many, many more years of community engagement through teaching, research and the arts.